So it was pretty humbling to get a chance to meet George Lucas on Friday and to hear him give his take on the future of education for about 45 minutes. And it was a pretty amazing day overall at Big Rock/Skywalker Ranch, sitting with some very passionate educators and fellow GLEF advisors from around the country to share ideas and experiences. It’s all got my brain buzzing.
But without question, what’s rolling in my brain as I write this on this long flight home are a few of the things that Lucas started the day off with. First and foremost, this quote:
“The system falls apart around innovation. This is going to happen because there is a disease out there called digital technology. It is going to change education. All we can do is run out in front of it and guide people along.”
No question, it was an interesting metaphor to use. And the more I keep turning it in my brain, the more I wonder how much of what we do right now is going to inevitably die off because of ways technology will attack the system. And if it will take the 20-plus years that he seemed to suggest before we get, finally, to a “much more sophisticated, global learning environment” than the one we have now. What was also interesting, however, was to understand how he sees that happening, basically one teacher, one school, one district at a time, convincing them all that “there is a new way of doing things.”
It’s a huge mountain, one that can only be climbed by educating the educators, the central role that he sees for the GLEF and it’s magazine Edutopia. He said;
“We build the swords for the crusaders. The sword is information and knowledge. That’s all we can do to change the world…Our mandate is to figure out how to scale up the the good work that schools are doing.”
There’s much more, obviously, but rather than try to weave it into some sense-making post, let me just share a few of the other major points that he made:
On the speed of change: “Education is the dragging force on innovation. The reason is well intentioned and that is we want everyone to be educated.”
On preservice preparation for new teachers: “Universities a at the core of the problem; there’s nothing more conservative than schools of education.”
On shifting the “why”: “We need to get kids asking ‘why does that happen?’ as opposed to ‘why am I learning this?’”
And finally, a few strung together quotes about the future: “We have a long way to go…the steamroller is coming, and we can hear it now. We were way ahead of it before, but now it’s closing in on us…This change is way bigger than all of us. Technology is going to change it. This will happen. The change will happen.”
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